Social Selling Tips: The New Rules of the Sales Game

Discover four ways selling has evolved in the digital era, and stay ahead of the game with these social selling tips.

February 25, 2016


“It’s a numbers game.”

“You have to play the game.”

“That’s the way the game is played.”

Odds are you have heard these phrases more than once. You might even have used them yourself. But is sales really a game? If so, what are the rules? Who is your opponent? How do you win?

In the pre-digital era, you could say that sales was a one-on-one game, like a boxing match. You on one side, the prospect on the other. But with buyers increasingly self-directing the process, that mindset is obsolete. Social selling is more a collaborative effort between you, your sales team, and your prospects. When it’s done right, everyone wins.

As you take the field in 2016, use these social selling tips to brush up on the new rules of the sales game:

Rule 1: A Team Mentality Makes Selling Easier

It’s possible for a social seller to succeed as a lone wolf, but social selling works best as a team sport. Your team can help you make introductions, expand your network, and share critical information that can make or break a deal. As you rely on the team, be a team player yourself: Always be on the lookout for ways you can help your colleagues succeed. You may be working toward individual quotas, but you can still move forward faster if you work together.

Winner’s Tip: If your sales department has Sales Navigator, you can use TeamLink to automatically share networks across the team. It’s a great way to find new opportunities, multi-thread accounts, and turn cold introductions into warm ones.

Rule 2: You Are on the Buyer’s Side

The old rules of high-pressure sales put the salesperson at odds with the buyer. The buyer is annoyed at being interrupted, determined to resist the sales pitch. The sales rep is equally determined to win at any cost, even if it means twisting arms and stretching the truth. It’s a brutal game for everyone involved.

As a social seller, you are invested in a long-term relationship with your buyer. You want them to have the best possible outcome, and you have done the research to know that your solution is the best fit. Rather than interrupting and piling on the pressure, you can bring value to every interaction until the sale is the next logical step in the buyer’s journey.

Winner’s Tip: Follow leads and accounts in Sales Navigator to get notifications you can use for relevant messaging.

Rule 3: The Buyer Is on Your Side

On the flipside of Rule 2, social selling enables the buyer to see you as an ally instead of an intrusion. As you work to make their professional life better, you don’t have to be shy to ask them to help you. There are plenty of ways a buyer can help before and after the deal is done, e.g.: writing a recommendation on LinkedIn, introducing you to the rest of the buying committee, or referring another potential prospect.

Winner’s Tip: Make it easy for your customers to provide high-quality referrals.

Rule 4: It’s the World Series, not the Super Bowl

In the new sales game, the goal is to sustain relationships for multiple wins over time. One-and-done sales can give you a temporary boost, but the relationships you build can bring in repeat business and high-quality referrals, which means less time spent prospecting.

Before the sale, you wooed your prospect by sharing relevant content and taking an interest in their professional development. Keep up that level of attention after the sale to prove you weren’t just in it for one big win.

Winner’s Tip: Use social media channels to maintain strong relationships with customers.

As buyers become more informed and self-guided, it’s time for all sales professionals to play the new sales game. In this corner: you, your sales team, and your prospect. In the other corner: the problem that keeps your prospect’s business from being the best it can be. Game on.

For a playbook for the new sales game, download The Sales Rep Checklist.